Valtteri Bottas took the lead of the race at the start and did not lose anymore in impressive performance.
The Finn controlled the race from the start and was helped by a strategic error from Mercedes with Hamilton to win the Australian Grand Prix convincingly, twenty seconds ahead of the five-time champion. Despite the error of strategy with Lewis, Mercedes managed to secure the one-two after the British held the attacks of Max Verstappen, who came home P3.
The extra point for the fastest lap was awarded to the winner, Bottas, after a dispute with Verstappen in the final laps. The new feature for the championship helped to hype up the end of the race, with all the drivers pushing the pace in search of an extra point.
Despite the difficulty of overtaking at the Melbourne circuit, the new regulation of Formula 1 certainly showed positive results. The disputes were numerous, and drivers managed to walk close to their rivals. This scenario make us hopeful of good races on tracks with more points of overtaking.
The current four-time world champions showed that they are still the team to beat. Bottas, after a poor season in 2018, made the best race of his career to win, while Hamilton suffered a failed strategy to protect Vettel at the beginning, but managed to hold the second position to close the Silver Arrows’ one-two.
The Red Bull-Honda partnership started on the right foot. Max Verstappen secured a podium position after overtaking Vettel on the track. It is the first podium of Honda engine since 2008, which has suffered to perform in the hybrid era but that finally seems to have a competitive package. Pierre Gasly suffered to recover positions after the bad position in the grid and finished in P11.
The red light must be on in Maranello. Sebastian Vettel finished in fourth, almost a minute behind the winner of the race. The premature stop for tire replacement certainly did not help the German’s race, but the downturn in pace in the second half of the race was worrisome. Charles Leclerc was instructed not to overtake Vettel when he had the opportunity and took fifth place at the end. It is Ferrari’s worst performance in Melbourne since 2009 and there is a lot of work ahead if they want to fight for the title.
Feeling of Deja-Vu for Haas, who saw their good start wasted with a troubled pit stop for the second consecutive year in Australia. Grosjean left the race with the left front wheel loose after his stop. At least Kevin Magnussen managed to hold on to Hulkenberg’s attack and finished the race in 6th place, behind only the big teams.
While local hero Daniel Ricciardo had a broken wing at the start and dropped out of the race shortly after, Nico Hulkenberg was able to recover from Saturday’s poor qualifying and secured the 7th position after a close contest with Magnussen’s Haas.
If Haas and Renault were considered favorites in the race for the 4th position in the constructors’ championship, Alfa Romeo gave indications that it is not far from this fight. The experienced Kimi Raikkonen finished just over a second behind Renault’s Hulkenberg. Giovinazzi was kept for a long time on the track with worn tires and did not get anything more than the 15th position.
Lance Stroll surprised and made a good recovery run, finishing in 9th place and taking home two points. Sergio Perez lost a lot of time stuck in the traffic of Giovinazzi and got home in 13th place after starting in 10th.
Toro Rosso’s aggressive new pair of drivers were involved in several disputes and the car is showing signs of being more competitive than in recent years. Despite a trip to the gravel, Daniil Kvyat sneaked in the Top 10 on his return to the series, while Albon finished 14th.
The difficult phase of Mclaren seems to have no end. The new season began as the last few: Carlos Sainz left with engine problems early in the race and Lando Norris failed to maintain his good position on the grid and finished only 12th, almost 40 seconds behind the rival ahead.
Poor performance by Williams, with its two drivers in the final positions. Russell finished two laps behind the leader, while Kubica had a little crash on the start that left him with the car broken and a lap behind his teammate.
Australian Grand Prix results
|1) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes|
|2) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+20.886|
|3) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||+22.520|
|4) Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||+57.109|
|5) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+58.230|
|6) Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+87.156|
|7) Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||+1 LAP|
|8) Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||+1 LAP|
|9) Lance Stroll||Racing Point||+1 LAP|
|10) Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||+1 LAP|
|11) Pierre Gasly||Red Bull||+1 LAP|
|12) Lando Norris||McLaren||+1 LAP|
|13) Sergio Perez||Racing Point||+1 LAP|
|14) Alex Albon||Toro Rosso||+1 LAP|
|15) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1 LAP|
|16) George Russell||Williams||+2 LAPS|
|17) Robert Kubica||Williams||+3 LAPS|
|Did not finish|